NHLPA CBA Counterproposal Not Imminent As Union Awaits League Documentation
The NHL and NHLPA split into small group meetings during collective bargaining talks yesterday to “discuss players' pensions and benefits, as well as health and safety issues, although a counterproposal from the NHLPA does not appear imminent,” according to Katie Strang of ESPN N.Y. The NHLPA “still has not received all the financial documentation -- primarily the independently audited information for the league's clubs -- requested from the NHL and has no intent to submit a proposal until that information is received and then analyzed.” NHLPA Special Assistant to Exec Dir Don Fehr and former NHLer Mathieu Schneider said, “They're asking for huge concessions ... $450 million from players. We certainly feel the audited statements are very important to what will eventually be our alternate proposal." Strang noted NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman “seemed to express frustration after Tuesday's meeting when he questioned whether the union's requests were ‘relevant.’” NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly said that the league’s “frustration stems from the implication there was a discrepancy between the information readily available to the Players' Association and the supplementary documentation requested.” Daly: “I think it was more a frustration with the perception that somehow the information is different or new than what the Players' Association has access to already and had access to for a long time. I don't think there's a real mystery, at least vis-a-vis the Players' Association, with respect to the financial condition of our clubs.” He added that the NHLPA has “four requests outstanding while the league has two requests pending” (ESPNNY.com, 8/1).
ESCROW AN ISSUE TO WATCH? The GLOBE & MAIL’s David Shoalts writes under the header, “Escrow A Nasty Word To NHL Players.” When the NHLPA makes its first counterproposal to the owners, it will “likely want changes to the escrow system along with greater revenue sharing among the teams” (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/2).
KEEP IT SIMPLE: YAHOO SPORTS’ Ryan Lambert wrote of potential NHL lockout, "I honestly don't think there will even be one. And if there is one, I'm okay with it, because anyone is stupid enough to let it last for more than a few weeks.” Of the forthcoming NHLPA proposal, Lambert noted the “simplest proposal is pretty clear: Stick with this basic CBA, at least for a little while.” That is an option that “some have hinted at being possible, and would give everyone a significant amount of time to work toward a more workable long-term solution” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/1).